By Kate Doherty
Do you fall for those advertising teasers and end up paying more for less? When shopping for groceries do you estimate per ounce or per unit costs? Do you buy those one-use packets versus bulk? I understand the tradeoff – ease of use. I regularly do the back-and-forth questioning myself. Regardless of income level, we need to watch our pennies as we witness the rapid rise in fuel prices. An ominous sign: Increased transportation costs directly translates to almost every item in your grocery cart costing more. It’s inevitable. But coupons can help.
I queried several RVers only to find many seasonal folks (six-month stints) who regularly clip coupons and look through store flyers for special sales. Would you purchase an item if it’s on sale or “buy one, get one free” even if that item isn’t on your shopping list? If you generally know the price of the item(s) before they are promoted in the buy one, get one free, you might be surprised to know the store most likely is not losing money. Nothing in a store is free!
Use smartphone coupon apps and save
If you regularly watch for those coupon apps, even while strolling through the store and download the QR Code or item coupon, you can save some good coin. For example, this QR code is easy to download to your phone and will be scanned at checkout. Do the math. We just saved a minimum of $1.50 or $2.00 off the name brand. In essence, we bought two for the regular price of one.
There are many couponing apps out there for both Apple and Android phones. Check out some of the most popular ones here, and see if your local grocery store has their own app – many of them do.
Dispelling the myth
Generic or “private label” products such as this Kroger brand butter are not manufactured by the grocer. Rather, they’re relabeled and repackaged under strict requirements and specifications for the wholesale reseller. Even as far back as last summer, we paid $3.79 for one pound of name-brand butter. And you know what? The private label brand is just as yummy on toast as the name brand, despite their more colorful packaging. Understandably, there are times when you must shop at small independent grocers. These small guys can’t compete with the large chain stores’ purchasing power. Nonetheless, it is nice to support the little guy. Regardless of package size or quantity, the independents must charge higher prices to survive.
A second refrigerator helps
From time to time, we take advantage of bulk item sales. Because we have a dual-energy refrigerator, it has limited cubic space compared to residential electric-only refrigerators. So, for us to take advantage of “sales,” we chose to purchase a second refrigerator/freezer. Our storage bay accommodated what we used to refer to as a “dorm size” refrigerator. It was $99 on sale from a big box store. We chose this style versus the top-opening portable refrigerator/freezer as our storage bay was large enough and it fit our lifestyle. We fill it with a variety of canned and bottled beverages that take up excess space and alleviates unnecessary trips inside for one soft drink. RVers who have a pull-out slide dedicated to a portable refrigerator/freezer are lucky. When summer BBQing really kicks in, all our condiments will be nearby. And it’s very handy when we take advantage of great sales.
We’re seeing our dollars shrink every visit to the grocery store, so we try and make the most of our funds.